Close elections in Florida and Georgia continue to spur controversy.
Republican Rick Scott, with a narrow 15,000-vote lead among more than 8 million cast over Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, wants to stop any further counting of contested ballots and to give him the U.S. Senate seat. It’s reminiscent of the Brooks Brothers Riot of Republican operatives dispatched to shut down the Florida recount in Bush v. Gore, a shutdown solidified by the U.S. Supreme Court’s shameful partisan decision to stop a statewide recount.
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In Georgia, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp has used every trick at his disposal to suppress votes for Democrat Stacey Abrams in the race for governor has also unilaterally declared himself the winner though thousands of provisional ballots remain uncounted. The challenged ballots are a product of a voter ID law. If you don’t show an ID you can cast a provisional ballot, but you must take subsequent steps to get the ballot counted. Thousands of volunteers are calling voters who cast provisional ballots in Georgia to get them to prove up their vote. Abrams hopes to close the margin enough to force a runoff.
Arkansas’s first voter ID law, struck down as unconstitutional, demonstrably resulted in voters losing their franchise. No close results in major races this year are likely to demand a systematic view, but a tally of provisional votes uncounted would be useful.
The ID laws were designed by the Republican Party to suppress minority votes. They may help defeat a black woman’s strong bid to be elected Georgia governor, just as intended.